Director: Jeff Schaffer
Cast: Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Michelle Trachtenberg, Travis Wester, Jessica Boehrs, Vinnie Jones, Rade Serbedzija, Lucy Lawless, Matt Damon
Plot: When newly-dumped Scotty (Mechlowicz) realises his German pen pal is a woman, he gathers his best friends to travel across Europe to meet her.
I have always disliked road trip movies. They seem like a cheap excuse for comedy, getting a handful of teenager leads together and having them go through a formulaic narrative that sees them go from Point A to B. Of course, the real director’s decision is to create some form of sketch show, where the characters travel through wacky set-pieces, often involving oddball characters and naked women. EuroTrip is hardly any different, but it surpasses a lot of the competition, by going that extra mile and injecting some surprising humour into its proceedings.
This is very important, because EuroTrip, other than setting its action across several European countries, doesn’t ever try to break out of formula. Our hero is a hopeless high school graduate, Scotty, who gets horrifically dumped by the love of his life. As he mopes around for the opening twenty minutes, we introduce ourselves to the three other leads, the stereotypical horny one, nerdy one and pretty female. Before long, Scotty accidentally lashes out as his German pen pal, who he promptly realises was actually a girl who was trying to ask him out. He gather his entourage of friends to go out on a dramatic trek across Europe to meet up with her at the Vatican and profess his love for her. The checklist of American teen comedy flaws is there with a badge of honour. Any female character is game for sexual objectification and if they aren’t a big enough name to go tell the director to go do one, they are usually robbed of their clothes at some point in the movie. The humour is firmly stuck in the gross-out territory, its crassest joke being two siblings getting drunk on absinthe and drunkenly making out, not realising who the other person is. Of course, dragging the action through Europe means that as well as being sexist, the movie is also willing to be racist as well. Any European over a certain age is either creepy or mad. The women are either hookers or sex-crazed. The English are drunken louts (okay, that one is at least an accurate stereotype). The issue with these problems is that the producers, and the target audience, do not see them as problems. Yes, it can be embarrassing when the pretty female extra ends up being both ditzy and naked, often hiding the scene between a light joke, but the real intent to get some breasts on the screen, but we all know that the intended audience of teenage boys who aren’t in the mood for too much story relish the womanising narrative. EuroTrip can play in the background of a gathering and the story is easy to catch up on if you are just tuning in.
However, what EuroTrip does do right is put in enough genuine laughs that these usual problems are only slightly distracting. Most of the time, teenage comedies are so thinly written that it just smacks of an excuse to live up to the adolescent viewing. EuroTrip wants to be a funny movie and it becomes endearing through the extra mile it goes to. Mainly it is saved by the star-studded cast it gets to play the cameos along the way. As the movie kicks off, we are instantly greeted by Matt Damon, who shows up for the movie’s best gag, a catchy musical number that not-so-subtly lets Scotty know he has been sleeping with his girlfriend for the last few months. Vinnie Jones pops up as a football hooligan who threatens to steal the show, the most outrageous character in any scene he is in. Watch out for the screen-writing face palm when Manchester United apparently takes on France in a football match. There is also fine support from Rade Serbedzija as an American-loving Latvian and Lucy Lawless as the owner of an Amsterdam brothel. It is impossible not to laugh along with the jokes when these big names are inviting you to give EuroTrip a chance. Sure, none of the jokes try to do anything unexpected. EuroTrip is the kind of movie that caters to your expectations in such a way, nothing out of the ordinary comes from watching it, but with characters that are likeable enough when allowed to escape their stereotypes, some fine guest star performances and jokes that, as much as you hate to admit it, aren’t as bad as you want them to be, EuroTrip is worth sitting down to watch. Easily the best in a poor genre.
Final Verdict: Crass and outrageous, EuroTrip caters to a specific audience, but might win a few people over in the process.